Boomkat Product Review:
‘Word Wall 2’ is the debut gob of existential inquiry by author Austin Collings with Elena Poulou (The Fall) and Liam Power (By the Sea) on the freshly hocked label wing of notorious Salford club, The White Hotel
Following from Austin’s ‘Blade Jogger’ record in 2017, which played on loop in The White Hotel bogs until the cleaners turned it off, ‘Word Wall 2’ or ‘WW2’ finds Austin Collings & By The Sea roping in a phalanx of fiends and friends including Elena Poulou (erstwhile player of keys for The Fall) as well as Natalie Curtis, Helenskià Collett, Neil Robbins and various nefarious types to bring Austin’s depictions of life in Prestwich and being immured in Manchester’s literary/music/art “scene” to a resting place on vinyl.
The tortuous, 15’ first half is co-narrated mostly by Austin and partly his longtime pal Elena Poulou (also a patron of our long gone shop Pelicanneck) and set to a wistful backdrop of drizzly guitars, Factory-line synths, motorik drive and knackered techno with glimpses of music box melody, all performed and arranged by Elena with By The Sea. The style will be recognisable to fans of ‘Blade Jogger’, and is perhaps best described to everyone else as noirish short story or hauntoligical poem distilling Austin’s, and by extension, Manchester’s wry blend of ennui and mucky passions that fuels us day to day.
On the B-side ‘The One Show’ offers a more impersonal, smudged and detached experience rendered thru a collage of location recordings made in/around The White Hotel. From recollections of the Yorkshire Ripper to apocalyptic declarations, acrimonious acronyms and glossolalic speaking-in-tongues wrapped in nods to classic pop culture gone avant-garde, it’s all as salubrious as a weekend booked in to TWH and its all mod-cons-reserved facilities. Pour yourself a Jacob, pull up a coffin, and make yourself uncomfortable.